RugbyWA’s under-17 side has surprised traditional rugby strongholds New South Wales and Queensland to win through to the ARUs inaugural Junior Gold Cup to be played at McGillivray Oval from 11am on Saturday morning.
The feat comes in the wake of the state under-20 side winning the Southern States tournament and four players, Luke Burton, Ross Haylett-Petty, Brad Lacy and Harry Scoble, chosen for the Australian under-20 squad.
The Junior Gold Cup features the best age group talent in Australia and in a further surprise the WA side will play Victoria, a traditional rugby rival since before both States had Super Rugby sides.
The WA side topped their pool undefeated with four wins and a draw in games played earlier this in Queensland where they restricted their opponents to just 33 points.
They then went on to beat a Brisbane side 23-8 in their conference final.
Coach Gus Martyn said reaching the final was reward for six months hard work and was a credit to the states junior program.
It was a huge effort, Martyn said.
During the pool games the boys played five games in seven days. Three games went back to back to back and some guys played in every game. That was the brutal part of it."
The WA under-15 side won three of their five games in their competition.
Force chief executive Mark Sinderberry said the results were a reflection of the improvement in WA rugby.
"This success helps continue to drive our objective of increasing the number of local players to progress through to the Western Force," he said.
"It is testament to the work being put in behind the scenes by our clubs and our junior coaching staff."
ARU development pathways manager, Ben Whitaker, said the result was a credit to the Force rugby program.
The standards of the Junior Gold Cup this year have been exceptional and we are looking forward to this competition attracting and developing the next generation of future Wallabies and Sevens players for many years ahead, Whitaker said.